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Generation Pay: Generation X spending habits

March 08, 2021

Globally, the way each generation pays is changing. The pace of that change is accelerating in an explosion of tools and technology, and in the evolution of consumer preferences and expectations. Gaining a deep understanding of your audience is essential for success, especially in an age when generational preferences evolve so quickly.

That’s especially true with Generation X, the cohort currently aged between 40-54 years old. In the prime of their careers, Gen X wields significant spending power, making them the object of focused attention from merchants. The better merchants understand what makes Generation X consumers tick, the more likely it is that those merchants can exceed their expectations and earn their loyalty.

Attracting Gen X spending power starts with understanding how Gen X thinks about finances. Many Gen X consumers prefer more traditional payment types like credit cards, debit cards and cash. Yet many in Gen X are adopting digital technologies faster, like mobile and digital wallets, and they’re the oldest generation that’s really open to sharing financial data with apps and retailers. Capitalizing on the purchasing power for Generation X means taking a deep dive into how they think about loyalty, their openness to technology and their payment preferences through different purchasing paths.

A new study from Worldpay from FIS®, Generation Pay, explores generational payment trends and attitudes around the globe.

Earning the loyalty of Generation X

Like all generations, attracting Gen X spending means understanding what these consumers want. Generation Pay shows they’re a generation that cares about their communities. Globally, members of Gen X were more likely than average to say that all else being equal, shopping at local independent businesses was the most important factor in choosing a retailer.

From corner merchants to global enterprises, attracting Gen X means establishing familiarity, trust and loyalty. Purchasing from a known and trusted brand was cited as an extremely important factor in retail choice among 55% of Gen X respondents. They also have strong loyalty towards retailers where they’re enrolled in a loyalty program, with 72% of Gen X reporting it as an important factor when choosing where to purchase. Interested in how to get them signed up? Points that don’t expire and high rewards value are the way to go. Gen X is also a generation comfortable purchasing both in store and online.

When it comes to how they pay, Gen X maintains an open mind. Almost half (48%) of Gen X respondents in our survey feel comfortable using the same payment methods they’ve always used, such as cash, checks and credit or debit cards, and the other half (56%) think mobile wallets are easier. A good majority of Gen X (62%), actually thinks contactless is easiest to use for everyday purchases.

Generation X and social media purchasing

Gen X may be rooted in tradition, but they’re embracing the digital age willingly. With social media playing an important role around the world, it’s quickly becoming one of the top strategies for brands to attract new customers, and it works. More than half (51%) of Gen Xers have purchased an item through social media, and 68% said they got what they expected.

That’s great news for brands. Customer acquisition through a digital medium is almost a requirement for today’s businesses. With so many consumers in this generation being open to digital forms of payment, it should make cart conversions smooth as long as companies offer a range of payment options that cater to country preferences.

Let’s chart your path to smarter consumer experiences

There’s much more to learn about the purchasing power of Generation X and how they prefer to pay while they shop online and in store, book travel, grocery shop and run errands. To learn more about Gen X financial habits and the rest of the generational cohorts, visit Generation Pay. Come explore generational payment trends through unique stories around the globe and gain the insights you need to create smarter consumer experiences.